10:17PM: Dugger accepted the assignment to Triple-A, Bobby Nightengale reports (Twitter link).
TODAY, 3:21PM: Dugger cleared waivers and has been outrighted to the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (Twitter link). It isn’t yet known if Dugger will accept the assignment or opt for free agency.
JULY 8: The Reds have designated reliever Robert Dugger for assignment, tweets Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The move clears an active roster spot for closer Alexis Diaz, who has been activated from the 15-day injured list.
This DFA is the latest step in what has become a fairly predictable pattern for the right-hander. This is the fourth time he has been designated for assignment in just over two months, each time after a fairly short stay in the big leagues. He started the year by signing a minor league deal with the Rays. He had his contract selected on May 1 and threw 5 1/3 innings of mop-up duty. After his first DFA of the year, he was claimed off waivers by the Reds. They, too, gave him a mop-up assignment, with Dugger getting to pitch for another three innings before his second DFA. He cleared waivers, was outrighted and then re-selected to the big league team, but got his third DFA without making an appearance. Selected yet again yesterday, Dugger tossed another 3 2/3 innings before this fourth DFA.
In total, he’s now thrown 12 MLB innings thus far this season, faring well in that small sample. He has a 4.50 ERA, 32.7% strikeout rate, 5.8% walk rate and 37.5% ground ball rate. Despite those decent results, Dugger hasn’t been granted anything beyond a very brief stay on a big league roster. Since he is out of options, the only way to replace him with a fresh arm is to send him back out into DFA limbo each time. His numbers in the minors this year aren’t quite as impressive, as he has a 5.06 ERA with a 17.6% strikeout rate and 10% walk rate through 48 Triple-A frames.
The Reds will have a week to trade him, pass him through outright waivers or release him. He will have the right to reject an outright assignment due to the fact that he has previously been outrighted in his career. But based on precedent, it’s possible that he clears waivers and accepts another outright assignment like he’s already done a couple of times this year.